Monday, January 16, 2012

Cooler Heads Need to Prevail in the Recent Marine-Taliban Incident

The Marines in the recent dead Taliban Soldier urination episode have been villified in anti-military publications. This episode is not widespread nor indicative of the entire Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, or NATO/IASF. Those Marines were dead wrong in their deliberate actions. This was not a heat of the moment event but rather a planned, stupid event.

When LTC (R) Allen West says,
I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq? “The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.
As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.

Indeed.

LTC (R) West prefaced his statement with the fact that the Marines should be dealt non-judicial punishment on behalf of UCMJ but not labeled "war criminals" as some have suggested.

If this had not been videotaped, then likely the Marines would have been found guilty and sentenced non-judicially perhaps even discharged with a General Discharge or prohibited from being re-enlisting - if their Command had known about it.

Our military training does not need to be improved. The troops are well-trained from the beginning about laws of war. Let's not place the actions of a few idiots and make them the epitome of our professional forces.

The effort in Afghanistan is not like a plague that forever changes our troops to do horrible things to dead enemy Soldiers. Perhaps minutes before, a 50 caliber round had just pierced the fleshy chest of one of those enemy fighters. We do not hear any narratives about that or how some Soldiers yesterday made a little kid's day when they gave them some candy. Rather we hear stories about how our Soldiers are stuck in a quagmire and they come back beaten or broken. The image of a veteran loaded like an angry powderkeg is a common theme in the media and it only deepens wide misunderstandings between the general non-military, deployed public and the combat experienced veteran. In reality, many Soldiers come back perfectly fine. Of course they are changed, but they are not this angry powderkeg ready to explode at a moments notice, homeless, or jobless because of the wounds of war. We are a lot stronger than you may think.

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